Opinion

Lincoln Day dinner at the Grange — bloodied but unbowed | Ferry Home Companion

One thing you can count on after a general election: most of the speakers at this San Juan County Republican Party gathering like to face things as they are.

That certainly was the case down the line Saturday at the San Juan Island Grange, as John Towson, membership chairman for the San Juan Island precincts, introduced the Lincoln Day Dinner speakers: County Chairwoman Cindy Carter of Orcas Island; Kevin Holmes, survivor of the 9/ll terrorist bombing at the Pentagon; and Jeff Kent, national and state Republican committeeman, keynoter.

After a graphic slide presentation of the havoc wrought by the plane which hit the Pentagon, where Holmes was responsible for the security of Army top brass installations, we wondered how anything about the last election would be of much interest.

Holmes — who went in and out of that devastation more than a dozen times, where recently installed improvements probably saved more than 3,000 lives — made one prouder than ever that we have such guys looking after us.

Kent was there to give an update on a more recent devastation — the November election results for the GOP.

"We had our lunch handed to us in November ... we were trounced!" he said grimly. Then he foretold what must be done about it: The Republican Party must be rebuilt.

"It is like a pyramid, with the precinct committeemen at the bottom and the leader at the top as the boss. We need to turn that pyramid upside down," he said.

"The voters and their committeemen must be heard and those above must realize that in a republic the voters are the grassroots, and everyone above them must realize (voters) are the boss."

Kent went on to outline an analysis of Republican voters, including the people at the jampacked meeting: 90 percent were over 50 years old. "We have to get the youth involved. We have to welcome moderate as well as conservative Republicans."

The presentations were well received.

San Juan County Republican Party officers, serving two-year terms, are Cindy Carter, chairwoman; Tom Starr, vice chairman; Dave Vandaveer, state committeeman; Rebecca Johnson, state committeewoman; Mike Lachlinger, treasurer; Rick Boucher, secretary; and Towson, membership.

Local Precinct Committee officers are Mike Carlson and Mike Loucks.

— Contact Howard Schonberger at 378-5696 or hschonberger@sanjuanjournal.com

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